Safety risk posed to persons on the ground by commercial UAS-based services

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Abstract

The unique capabilities of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) creates opportunities for commercial services. The key question is what is an acceptable level of risk posed to third parties on the ground that have no direct benefit from commercial UAS flights. In literature the common view is that an acceptable level of Third Party Risk (TPR) posed by UAS operations follows from an Equivalent Level Of Safety (ELOS) criterion, which means that per flight hour a UAS should not pose more safety risk to persons on the ground than a commercial aircraft does. However in commercial aviation there are also TPR indicators in use that are directed to accident risk posed by all annual commercial flights to the population around an airport. These population directed indicators find their origin in TPR posed by hazardous installations to its environment. The aim of this paper is to improve the understanding of risk posed to the population by annual UAS-based services through learning from TPR knowledge and regulation for airports and hazardous installations. As main result this paper develops an analytical approach to evaluate the annual risk posed by a commercial UAS-based parcel delivery service in urban and metropolitan areas. The obtained results show that the TPR indicators that stem from hazardous installations and airports provide novel insight regarding TPR of commercial UAS-based service.